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Showing posts from October, 2011

236. Alone by Lisa Gardner

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Alone by Lisa Gardner (US) - (Canada)
D.D. Warren, #1

Pages: 451
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 19, 2011
First Published: 2005
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: mystery, thriller
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

He'd put in a fifteen-hour shift the night the call came in.

Acquired: I was visiting relatives and borrowed this from my sister.

Reason for Reading: I am reading this series but started with book #3, since my sister had the first book it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with the series.

Having read books 3-5 of this series it was a little strange going back to the first book as D.D. Warren is only a very minor character who is only introduced halfway through the book.  Obviously, this book did not start out to be the "D.D. Warren" series.  Instead the main character is Bobby Dodge, police sniper, who in the later books is D.D.'s partner.  Bobby is called out to an intense domestic scene where shots fired have been reported and he makes his first on the job kill.  The woman…

235. Mean Margaret by Tor Seidler

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Mean Margaret by Tor Seidler. Pictures by Jon Agee (Canada) - (US) Out of Print

Pages: 165
Ages: 7+
Finished: Oct. 14, 2011
First Published: 1997
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: children, animal fantasy, humour
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:
One spring afternoon Fred was out foraging for food in the meadow when an inky cloud seeped over the sun.
Acquired:  I'm visiting relatives and borrowed this from my niece.

Reason for Reading:  I've read one previous book by this author and since I enjoyed it was looking forward to reading another of his books.

I'm not sure "Mean Margaret" is actually the best title for this book as Margaret is not the main character, nor is the story really about her, but she is indeed the antagonist.  The book concerns Fred, a woodchuck, and his search for a mate.  His eventual marriage to the woodchuck Phoebe brings up the talk of children, which Phoebe loves and Fred hates, putting her off with lame excuses the next day they find a human chil…

234. Avalanche Annie by Lisa Wheeler

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Avalanche Annie: A Not-So-Tall Tale by Lisa Wheeler. Illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Canada) - (US)

Pages: unpaginated (approx. 32)
Ages: 4+
Finished: Oct. 13, 2011
First Published: 2003
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Genre: children, picturebook, tall tale, winter
Rating: 3/5
First sentence:

In northern Michisota,
where the woolly Mooskins roam,
below Mount Himalachia,
Annie Halfpint makes her home.Acquired: I'm visiting family and borrowed this from my niece.

Reason for Reading: I like legends, myths, tall-tales, etc. and this sounded cute.

A short, cute picture book tall tale of a large little girl who lassos and rides an avalanche into town so it doesn't cause destruction. Told in ABCB rhyme, it would make a fun read aloud. The first half of the book has a Dr. Seuss feel to it with made up words but by the middle they have dropped off. This matches the story telling as the first half concentrates on the silliness and the second on the action of the story. All around over-the-top si…

233. Kaspar, Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo

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Kaspar, Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo. Illustrated by Michael Foreman. (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 208
Ages: 8+
Finished: Oct. 13, 2011
First Published: 2008
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: children, historical fiction, cats, Titanic
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:


Prince Kaspar Kadinsky first came to the Savoy Hotel in a basket.
Acquired: I'm visiting relatives and borrowed this book from my niece.

Reason for Reading: I've read and enjoyed the author before plus I am a Titanic fan.

This is an entirely fictional story about three things, two of them rooted in actual fact.  First and foremost it is the story of fourteen year old Johnny Trott, orphan, currently working as bell boy at the Savoy Hotel, secondly it is a story of how the famous sculpture of the Savoy Hotel cat may have come to be and thirdly, it is an account of the sinking of the Titanic.

An important guest at the hotel befriends Johnny and instructs him to watch over her cat, Kaspar, while she is away from her rooms.  …

232. The Remains of War by G. Pauline Kok-Schurgers

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The Remains of War: Surviving the Other Concentration Camps of World War II by G. Pauline Kok-Schurgers (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 186
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 9, 2011
First Published: Mar. 30, 2011
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: memoir, non-fiction, WWII, Asia
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

In the far distance, the soft droning of airplanes grew louder, just as the sirens started.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading:  I enjoy reading WWII memoirs and am especially interested in the Asian Holocaust.

The author was a child living in the Dutch Indies when WWII broke out.  Her Dutch family, including herself and three younger siblings, lived in Indonesia at this time which the Japanese occupied and sent all Dutch to concentration camps with some initial men being sent off to work on building roads and railroads for the army's use.  "Sofia", the author, tells her story of the war from a child's perspective having been nine years old at…

231. Bleeder by John Desjarlais

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Bleeder by John Desjarlais (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 258
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 8, 2011
First Published: Aug. 15, 2009
Publisher: Chisel & Cross Books
Genre: thriller, mystery, catholic fiction, christian fiction
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

My Volvo's windshield wiper's slapped away spots of mid-March drizzle, chanting shouldn't, shouldn't, shouldn't.Acquired:  Received a review copy from Sophia Institute Press.

Reason for Reading:  I love thrillers and, of course, the Catholic angle attracted me.

Reed Stubblefield goes to spend some time away in his brother's cabin out in the boonies of Illinois.  His wife had died last year of leukemia and he plans to spend his time writing a book about Aristotle.  His, brother, a Catholic convert, sets everything up for him with the campsite where his cabin is located.  Reed learns that the nearby small town is overcrowded with people as a new assistant priest has been working there recently.  He is rumoured over the state…

230. Green Lantern: Web of Doom

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Green Lantern: Web of Doom by Michael Anthony Steele. Illustrated by Dan Schoening. (Canada) - (US)
DC Super Heroes

Pages: 54
Ages: 8+
Finished: Oct. 6, 2011
First Published: Aug. 1,2011
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Genre: children, early chapter book, superheroes
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:
Hal Jordan was a Green Lantern.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

Reason for Reading: My son loves these books and I always read them first before handing them over for bedtime story time. They are above his reading level yet.

Well I was excited as a little kid that Green Lantern and The Flash have been added to this series and couldn't wait to start reading.  As usual the illustrations are DC Comics quality and there are usually two per chapter.  The story here is pure superhero.  Taking place entirely in outer space Green Lantern is sent on an ambassadorial mission to help two warring planets reach peace.  However, as they are getting nowhere fast, they are all attac…

229. Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon

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Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon. Illustrated by Tony Ross (US) - (Canada)
Horrid Henry (#1)

Pages: 90
Ages: 7+
Finished: Oct. 4, 2011
First Published: 1994 UK (2009 US)
Publisher: Jabberwocky/Sourcebooks
Genre: children, humour, realistic fiction
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:
Henry was horrid.Acquired: Borrowed a copy from the local library.

Reason for Reading: I thought ds should be able to read this as his reader and I had read good reviews of how funny they were.

First, we must get one thing straight.  Henry is a horrid little boy.  He is naughty, likes to cause trouble, is contrary on purpose, likes to make his perfect brother miserable and is never happy unless he gets his own way.  Each book contains four short stories and in no way whatsoever does Henry ever learn a lesson, have things turn out bad for him or say he's sorry at the end.  No, Henry may have things go not quite the way he planned at the beginning but they only turn out better than he had planned and in the end he …

218. Orcs: Forged For War by Stan Nicholls

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Orcs: Forged For War by Stan Nicholls. Adapted & Illustrated by Joe Flood (Canada) - (US)
Orcs Universe: prequel

Pages: 198
Ages: 16+
Finished: Sept. 25, 2011
First Published: Oct. 11, 2011
Publisher: First Second Books
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 4/5
First sentence:
The black clad Unis, put their faith in the protection of a single, all powerful deity.
Acquired: Received a review copy from First Second Books.

Reason for Reading:  I felt in the mood for some high fantasy and this sounded like it would fit the bill.

Stan Nicholls has written two trilogies set in the Orcs universe and this is the first graphic novel addition to this universe.  It is not an adaptation of previous material, but a new story which is set before the "First Blood" trilogy making it a prequel of sorts.  I have not read any of the other books in this series and it is not necessary.  The author has written a six page introduction which, although he says you need not know any background info…

227. Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shireen

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Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shireen (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 32
Ages: 4+
Finished: Oct. 9, 2011
First Published: Sept. 13, 2011
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Genre: children, picture book, fairytale retelling
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Are we all sitting comfortably?
Acquired:  Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: I was sent a review copy by the publisher and the book looked cute.

Adorable artwork with characters who are charming and appear so friendly.  It is their simple round eyes, not always matching, with pin prick pupils which make them so distinct.  And just turning the background colour to yellow makes the innocence disappear and a new feeling comes along with the Big Bad Wolf.  Wonderfully drawn!
A cute story that takes a spin on the Big Bad Wolf tale.  Here we have Rolf, a very Good Little Wolf, who meets up with the BBW and is taunted by him that he isn't really a wolf if he can't do the bad things *he* can do.  So Rolf is bullied into tryin…

228. Adelina's Whales by Richard Sobol

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Adelina's Whales by Richard Sobol (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 32
Ages: 8+
Finished: Oct. 3, 2011
First Published: 2003
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Genre: children, non-fiction, nature, marine life, picture book
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

La Laguna is the name of a quiet, dusty fishing village on the sandy shore of Laguna San Ignacio, in Baja California, Mexico.
Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: I am reading Richard Sobol's entire backlist with my son and discussing the life of a photographer/photojournalist as a career option while doing so.

Sobol offers us another book filled with gorgeous photography of gray whales, up close and personal, as here on La Laguna the whales allow people to come right up to them and pet them.  We follow ten-year-old Adelina who lives in a grouping of box-like structures patched together with wood and metal on the beach.  She adores her life here especially when in January the whales arrive from up nor…

226. The Marvelous Land of Oz by Eric Shanower

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The Marvelous Land of Oz by Eric Shanower. Art by Skottie Young (Canada) - (US)
Wonderful World of Oz (2)

Pages: 200
Ages: 9+
Finished: Oct.2, 2011
First Published: Sept. 29, 2010
Publisher: Marvel
Genre: children, graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:


In the country of the Gillikins, which is at the north of the land of Oz, lived a youth called Tip.

Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Another absolutely fabulous rendition of an OZ book by Shanower and Young.  This is actually only as far as I've read of the original novels and I am inspired to start reading them now so that I can have read the book before continuing on with the next graphic novel.  I own a gorgeous collection of the Baum books.  This story only brings back a few old friends from our first encounter with Oz namely Scarecrow and Tinman and briefly for the last chapter Glinda.  Otherwise the story centers around a young boy, Tip, an old witch whom …

225. The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

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The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason (US) - (Canada)
Blue Umbrella series (1)

Pages: 426 + "after words" bonus section
Ages: 10+
Finished: Sept. 30, 2011
First Published: Oct. 1, 2009
Publisher: David C Cook
Genre: children, christian fiction, fantasy
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

Not many people are killed by lightning.  Zac's mother was.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading:  Simply the plot!  The folkart cover appealed to me too.

I've had this book on hand since publication but it was unfortunately just one of those books that kept slipping further down the pile for no particular reason.  I sure wish I had read this sooner as it was absolutely fantastic!  One of the best children's fantasies I've read in a while!  The book comes from a Christian publisher and so technically is christian fiction, but this is as mainstream as Madeline L'Engle and C.S. Lewis' children's books.  The story is pointing to God, the…

224. Down the Yukon by Will Hobbs

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Down the Yukon by Will Hobbs (Canada) - (US)
sequel to Jason's Gold

Pages: 193
Ages: 10+
Finished: Sept. 27, 2011
First Published: 2001
Publisher: HarperTrophy
Genre: YA, historical fiction, adventure
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:
The trouble started over a mongrel dog, small, mostly black, shorthaired and shivering.
Acquired: Received a copy through BookMooch.

Reason for Reading:  After reading Jason's Gold, I promised ds I would read the sequel to him sometime and here we are finally getting to it.  A year and a half later!  But he's more mature for Hobbs now and he wants me to read more books by him.

Though the word Yukon is in the title, it refers to the river not the territory, so don't mistake this book as taking place in Canada.  The first in this series (and I'd say it's important to read them in order to get the full value of this sequel) takes places entirely in Canada while this one takes place entirely in Alaska, except for the beginning couple of chap…

223. One More Elephant by Richard Sobol

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One More Elephant: The Fight to Save Wildlife in Uganda by Richard Sobol. (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 32
Ages: 8+
Finished: Sept. 29, 2011
First Published: 1995
Publisher: Cobblehill Books
Genre: children, non-fiction, nature, wildlife, picture book
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:
Why have elephants captured the imaginations of so many scientists, artists, photographers, and children around the world?
Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: I am reading Richard Sobol's entire backlist with my son and discussing the life of a photographer/photojournalist as a career option while doing so.

This book is dated, being over fifteen years old in the telling of its story but it was a captivating story at that.  My ds was extremely full of questions and it got to the point where I had to make him promise to wait until I had finished a page before he started in with the questions!  This tells the story of the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, Africa just afte…

222. An Elephant in the Backyard by Richard Sobol

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An Elephant in the Backyard by Richard Sobol (Canada) - (US)

Pages: unnumbered (approx. 32)
Ages: 5+
Finished: Sept. 28, 2011
First Published: 2004
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Genre: children, non-fiction, elephants, Thailand
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:
In most neighborhoods, elephants are way too big to keep in the backyard.Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: I am reading the author's entire backlist with my son and discussing the life of a photographer/photojournalist as a career option while doing so.

This was my son's and my favourite book by Richard Sobol to date and we only have two more on his backlist to go.  A wonderful story of a village in Thailand called Tha Klang, which has domesticated elephants roaming freely.  It is not unusual for each family to have their own elephant.  While elephants are plenty in Thailand, Tha Klang is unique in its domesticated elephants.  The book follows one family, specifically the brothe…